Seven Serendipitous Layer Dip

Super Bowl Season is upon me and that means a house full of grown men (my husband and his friends), grown women (their wives and girlfriends, a combination of football fans and just-being-sociable guests), and teens (my kids’ and their friends). Whatever else I prepare or serve, the afternoon must start with my version of the familiar seven layer dip.

Anyone can find dozens of recipes for this dip on the Internet and, as a chef I can tell you most of them are flawed. The size of the serving dish is vague (“a big platter”) or wrong (“a 9-inch glass pie pan”). The seasoning is not balanced (“mix one 1-ounce taco seasoning envelope with one 15-ounce can of refried beans”). First of all most taco seasonings come in 1.4 or 1.5 ounce envelopes; second, even one ounce if you measure it out is way too pungent for one can of beans. Another common ingredient, fresh tomato, is not only out of season, but duplicates the tomato salsa called for in most recipes. Last but not least, the serving dish for the dip needs to have sides, or the dip slowly collapses and becomes a landslide, or should I say, dipslip.

There is one controversial ingredient: Olives. Some folks love sliced California olives. Some folks hate them. Some folks love Kalamata olives. Some folks hate them. So every year I take a poll and the majority wins. There are so many flavors in the dip that no one ingredient predominates.

So welcome to Seven Serendipitous Layer Dip which gets raves every year. There are some steps to the recipe that may seem persnickety; however, the little bit of extra time and effort results in a perfect dip that does not weep or become watery, tastes wonderful, looks great, is easy to dip into, refrigerates well and feeds a team of football fans.

Seven Serendipitous Layer Dip

Yield: 36 Servings

Seven Serendipitous Layer Dip


  • 1 bunch green onions, cut 8-inches long, minced
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, cut in chiffonade
  • 1 ½ cup seedless cucumber, peel on, diced
  • ½ (16-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, preferably Mezzetta , drained, diced
  • 1 (6-ounce) jar pitted Kalamata olives, drained, minced OR
  • 1 (6-ounce) jar California ripe sliced olives, drained
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, well softened
  • 1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans refried beans
  • 1 (1.4- or 1.5-ounce) package gluten-free taco seasoning, preferably Bearitos
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar mild, medium or hot tomato salsa
  • 3 cups (1 12-ounce package) shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack or cheese of choice


  1. Place green onions in a small bowl, cover with water and sprinkle on ½ teaspoon of salt. Reserve.
  2. Rinse chiffonade of lettuce in a salad spinner. Place in a large plastic self-sealing bag with a paper towel and refrigerate. Reserve.
  3. Place cucumbers in a dish lined with a paper towel folded four times. Repeat with the red peppers.
  4. Repeat with the olives. Reserve.
  5. Drain the reserved minced onions and pat dry with paper towels.
  6. In a medium bowl using a sturdy whisk or a hand-held mixer, beat sour cream and cream cheese together until smooth. Reserve
  7. In a medium bowl mix thoroughly the beans and taco seasoning.
  8. Spray a 9 by 13 by 2-inch glass dish lightly with nonstick spray. Spread the beans over the bottom in an even layer. Next spread the sour cream-cream cheese mixture over the beans. Top with the salsa.
  9. Sprinkle the onions over evenly. Repeat with the red peppers. Repeat with the cucumbers.
  10. Top with lettuce. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over. Garnish with sprinkled olives.
  11. Serve with gluten free corn chips, or refrigerate covered until ready to serve (up to 24 hours).


Variations: Substitute 2 (10-ounce) packages of roasted red pepper hummus for refried beans; omit taco seasoning. For a dairy-free version, substitute the same amounts of Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese for cream cheese; Sour Supreme for sour cream; shredded nondairy cheese alternative for cheese. %



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